Neutrophil (polymorphonuclear leukocyte [PMN]) sequestration is one of the histologic hallmarks of an acute inflammatory response. During the natural evolution of an inflammatory response, PMNs are often replaced by mononuclear cells. This shift in the elicitation of specific leukocyte populations usually occurs as the inflammatory lesion enters either the repair/resolution stage or progresses to a chronic inflammation. To elucidate a potential mechanism for the temporal change from predominantly PMN recruitment to the presence of monocytes, we postulated that PMNs could be a rich source of monocyte chemotactic factors. In our studies, we have identified a dose-dependent induction of monocyte chemotactic activity by PMNs treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 1-100 ng/ml). Interestingly, this monocyte chemotactic activity was significantly attenuated in the presence of neutralizing anti-human macrophage inflammatory protein 1 alpha (MIP-1 alpha) antibodies. Moreover, immunolocalization studies demonstrated the expression of MIP-1 alpha by stimulated PMNs. These findings showed that a significant amount of PMN-derived monocyte chemotactic activity was attributable to MIP-1 alpha. Subsequent characterization of MIP-1 alpha steady-state mRNA and antigen expression demonstrated both a dose- and time-dependent production by LPS-treated PMNs. Granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), a potent PMN activator, failed to induce the expression of MIP-1 alpha over a wide range of concentrations. However, PMNs stimulated in the presence of both LPS and GM-CSF resulted in a synergistic expression pattern for MIP-1 alpha. PMNs stimulated in the presence of both GM-CSF and LPS demonstrated an enhanced and prolonged expression for both MIP-1 alpha mRNA and antigen, as compared with LPS alone. Messenger RNA stabilization analyses demonstrated that MIP-1 alpha mRNA isolated from PMNs stimulated in the presence of GM-CSF and LPS had a prolonged mRNA t1/2, as compared with LPS alone. These findings support the notion that PMNs are capable of producing MIP-1 alpha in the presence of LPS, and that GM-CSF can influence this production through prolongation of MIP-1 alpha mRNA t1/2. The production of PMN-derived MIP-1 alpha, in association with the expression of appropriate adhesion molecules at a site of inflammation, may be one of the central events that contributes to the temporal shift from predominantly PMNs to monocytes during the evolution of inflammation.